JOKER
2019, Warner Bros., 122 min, USA/Canada, Dir: Todd Phillips

Directed, co-written and produced by Oscar nominee Todd Phillips, JOKER is the filmmaker’s original vision of the infamous DC villain, an origin story infused with, but distinctly outside, the character’s more traditional mythologies. Forever alone in a crowd, Arthur Fleck (an indelible Joaquin Phoenix) wears two masks. One, he paints on for his day job as a clown. The other he can never remove; it’s the guise he projects in a futile attempt to feel he’s a part of the world around him, and not the misunderstood man whom life is repeatedly beating down. Caught in a cyclical existence between apathy and cruelty and, ultimately, betrayal, Arthur makes one bad decision after another that brings about a chain reaction of escalating events in this gritty, allegorical character study. Costarring Robert De Niro.


PARENTHOOD
1989, Universal, 124 min, USA, Dir: Ron Howard

Raising children has never seemed so hilarious, frustrating and true to life as in this delightful dramedy from director Ron Howard. Featuring an Oscar-winning original song from Randy Newman, the film follows overwhelmed parents-of-three Gil (Steve Martin) and Karen Buckman (Mary Steenburgen) as they learn to juggle work, friends and their extended family of four generations. The stellar ensemble includes Joaquin Phoenix, Keanu Reeves, Tom Hulce, Rick Moranis, Martha Plimpton, Jason Robards and Dianne Wiest, who took home the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.


THE SISTERS BROTHERS
2018, Annapurna Pictures, 121 min, France/Spain/Romania/USA, Dir: Jacques Audiard

Based on the novel by Patrick deWitt, this reimagining of the cinematic Western is a dangerous, witty and emotionally cathartic exploration of what it means to be a man. It is 1851, and Charlie and Eli Sisters (Joaquin Phoenix and John C. Reilly) are both brothers and assassins, boys grown to men in a savage and hostile world. Each increasingly questions, and quibbles with, the other’s methods as they travel through the mountains of Oregon and eventually to the Gold Rush land of California. It’s a journey that will test the deadly family ties that bind - and may allow them to rediscover what remains of their humanity. Costarring Jake Gyllenhaal and Riz Ahmed. “This first English-language outing by the ever-adventurous French director Jacques Audiard (A PROPHET, RUST AND BONE) is a connoisseur’s delight, as it's boisterously acted and detailed down to its last bit of shirt stitching.” - Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter.


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